The Rising Era of Web Application Development With PWAs

The Rising Era of Web Application Development With PWAs

Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) are hotly debated at the moment. What exactly are progressive web apps, and what are their advantages over native apps?

Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) are hotly debated at the moment. But what exactly are progressive web apps, and what are their advantages over native apps? We're getting to the bottom of the matter.

What Is A Progressive Web App Anyway?

Progressive web apps combine the properties of websites and native apps. They adapt progressively to the respective device, and the browser is used and is called up like a website by entering a URL.

The web apps are accessed via a URL. A corresponding advantage over native apps is that you no longer have to go through the respective app store. You call up the web app in the browser and add it to your "home screen". A download from the app store is no longer necessary. Updates via the app store, as we are used to from native apps, are also carried out automatically.

Add progressive web app to the home screen. The nice thing about the so-called add-to-home screen functionality is that you and your customers save a lot of storage space compared to native apps. The days when you could not download an app from the app store because your storage space was too full are a thing of the past.

Why Develop A PWA Instead Of An App?

A PWA has a code that works independently of the various mobile platforms. The maintenance is much lower than with native apps.

  • An app must first be downloaded and installed from the App Store. A PWA works without installation and can be shared with others via URL.
  • PWAs require less storage space on the device and can be more easily compatible with older smartphone operating systems.
  • The development and maintenance of apps are usually more expensive because web developers have to program versions for different platforms.
  • Apps are first validated and approved by the web stores. PWAs are ready for immediate use.
  • They are called PWAs to ensure that every user is using the latest version. With an app, users can delay the update.
  • For example, according to Google's information, Alibaba.com was able to increase conversions in the mobile area by 76 percent with its PWA because there was no need to download an app.

Disadvantages Of Progressive Web Apps

Compared to native apps, PWAs also have disadvantages:

  • PWAs have limited access to the functions of an end device.
  • If PWAs are to support multiple mobile browsers, development and maintenance costs will skyrocket.
  • Users may find a progressive web app worse because it doesn't have to be listed in app stores.

Single-Page Applications To Start With

Although advanced web apps are considered a hot topic in the tech community, they are still not widely used. Already their definition often creates confusion. Some companies make no distinction between a Progressive Web App and a single page application (SPAs).

This is a website that reacts very quickly, thanks to decentralization. This means that in the case of a SPA, the server only provides the user data and sends it to the browser. The web client manages the session and can react independently to user actions. While the website is being used, only the information necessary for continuous display is updated.

A SPA is only the first step in developing a PWA, but not an actual progressive web app. This is often not differentiated. Even if companies offer their customers a PWA-like experience with SPAs, they do not belong in such a web app without offline functionality.

What Additional Functions Do Progressive Web Apps Offer?

In addition to a responsive website's typical functions, developers can use numerous additional functions with a PWA. 

This includes:

Push notifications, which are also available with native apps. They increase the interaction rate. Push messages are notifications that are displayed directly on your smartphone, regardless of whether the app is open or not. Please read our blog article "Push notifications: A wake-up call for successful customer contacts" for more information about push notifications.

You can use push notifications to inform your customers about promotions, discounts, or events. Your customers receive the message directly on their smartphones. Consent to receive push notifications is required here. As with native apps, push notifications are also possible with progressive web apps. Here, too, the service worker plays a role or the central role.

They have a faster loading time than native apps. Progressive web apps are designed for fast loading times. It is generally said that users will jump off mobile websites if the website does not load within 3 seconds. If a PWA is called for the second time, it packs in less than 3 seconds. Thanks to Service Worker, even when the respective user is offline.

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